AUSTIN (Kiii News) — The deadline for legislators to approve or disapprove a 10-percent rate increase by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association was pushed back by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday.
The governor suspended a section of the Texas Insurance Code in order to give legislators more time to address concerns that the rate increase will harm recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.
Much of the Gulf Coast continues to rebuild since the devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey, and many in area have expressed concerns about the TWIA rate increase.
"Such a rate increase at this time would negatively impact the people of the Gulf Coast," Abbott stated in a news release.
According to the governor's announcement Thursday, under the Texas Insurance Code state legislators would only have until Oct. 15 to approve or disapprove the rate increase, otherwise the rate would be considered approved. The governor said compliance with that deadline fails to give the Texas Legislature enough time to address the rate increase during the upcoming legislative session, and could force a decision that hinders recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.
In order to give the Texas Legislature enough time to address the rate increase during their upcoming legislative session without forcing a decision by Oct. 15, Gov. Abbott suspended Section 2210.352 of the Texas Insurance Code. That suspension will remain in effect until June 16, 2019.
Legislators will meet in January and will have until that new deadline to come to a decision.
State Representative Todd Hunter said the governor's decision to delay a decision comes thanks to rallies and petitions from the Coastal Bend.
"Get to work. 14 counties together, come up with proposals and start working on some legislation to involve both legislative bodies, the Senate and the House, and the Governor's Office," Hunter said. "But I think it's a good idea because now it is going to be people involved in the system, not a bunch of out-of-state insurance corporations."
Any request to increase the rate before the new deadline will be suspended by the governor, and nothing will be approved this year. Homeowners with TWIA will keep the same rates as last year.
Stay connected with 3News for the latest news, sports, and weather. Download the KIII-TV 3News app now.